2008 Leonetti "Reserve" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The winery flagship is the 2008 Reserve, a blend 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc aged in barrel, some of it new, for 23 months. Sandalwood, exotic spices, herbs, violets, and assorted black fruits inform the nose of a layered, succulent, plush, bordering on opulent wine that is beautifully balanced and already complex. It will continue its development for at least another 5-6 years and offer a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2028+. (JM)
*Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2011* In comparison with the 2008 Cabernet, this is the bigger wine, less sleek, more chewy. As it opens in the glass, the aromas display incense scents, and there is assertive, blocky, chewy fruit--especially black cherry. The tannins are also bigger, blockier, more substantial than the Cabernet. With hours of breathing time, exotic spices (saffron and more) emerge. (PG)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full ruby-red. Cassis, licorice and roasted oak on the nose. Sweet, lush and seamless; wonderfully thick but less expressive and less urgent today than the cabernet bottling. One senses the perimeter of this powerfully built, backward wine more than its contents today. Best right now on the slowly mounting, extremely long finish, which features sweet tannins and building notes of spices and Belgian chocolate. Winemaker Chris Figgins "builds the cabernet base" of the reserve first (before picking for the cabernet sauvignon bottling), explaining that he likes some early-harvested cabernet for its aromatic complexity. 94(+?) points (ST)
Wine & Spirits
Dense, primary and a touch opaque at the outset, this blend is about 70 percent cabernet, with a balance of petit verdot, merlot and cabernet franc. It seems to be all structure at first, before a fine, gentle red fruit flavor peeks through—red plum and darker cherry accents. The texture is firm and sleek at once, though the wine is a long way from peak expression. Cellar, then serve with a ribeye.
Supple, generous and inviting for its pure currant, blackberry and wet earth flavors that pulse on the lively, expressive finish. Tannins are present, but well-integrated. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2018. (HS)
Leonetti Cellar belongs in the pantheon of domestic wine pioneers, planting grapes and making stellar wines in Washington's Walla Walla Valley back in the 1970s, when no one else really was. The wines are always extremely sought after, especially after they are reviewed, so get your hands on some before the critics make this scarce. The 2008 Reserve blends Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc for an incredibly complex wine with a long future ahead of it. Notes of crushed cherry, cassis and plum are complemented by spicy cinnamon, clove, espresso bean and cedar box accents. Well-integrated and plush on the palate, this is drinking well already, but will be best a five to seven years from now. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc.